…i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
-Warsan Shire, excerpt from “What they did yesterday afternoon”
We are interested in your personal stories of cultural wounding/loss/theft, and cultural healing.
Where are the broken cracks in your sense of cultural identity?
Where are the places you feel loss, grief, wounding, confusion and rage?
Where does it hurt?
The state of being disconnected from our respective folk histories, cultural roots and communal identities is one that is currently shared by a vast number of people. Historic and current systems of oppression continue to work largely through enforcing our alienation from the histories that connect us to particular places, people and practices. While it’s true that some groups of people gain certain privileges through these systems of oppression, all people are dehumanized. Nobody is untouched by oppression, whether it be white supremacy, imperialism, colonialism, sexism, racism, classism, etc.
The loss of our cultural stories and histories is precisely what prevents us from rooting and grounding. It is part of what makes us vulnerable to the whims of capital, and part of why it is difficult to organize effectively against hegemonic systems of power.
We are interested in unearthing and re-discovering these lost roots, whether they were lost within your lifetime or generations ago. We want to witness you reaching in the dark for what you don’t know you don’t know. Or, we want to hear about the losses of which you are all too aware, and the ways you struggle to reclaim these stolen parts. Or we want to hear about your effort to find power and meaning in what is often framed as intractable loss. We would like to begin sowing the seeds of a cultural lineage, the fruits of which may only be harvested in centuries time, by our children’s children’s children. We are in it for the long haul. We want to join you in recognizing how lost we all might be.
In each of our personal journeys of healing cultural wounds, we wade through a wide spectrum of emotions, from intense, saturated, raw emotion, to a deep, peaceful acceptance of what is. Every point along that spectrum is sacred; every point along that spectrum is equally important, and we welcome words and artwork from any part of it.
Humans, historically and presently, experience cultural loss in a variety of ways including:
- As Indigenous people, whose lands and lifeways are under constant assault the world over now, and have been for generations
- As people whose land was, at one time, colonized and who have experienced the loss of cultural knowledge that accompanies prior colonization; or have experienced the devaluing of their folk practices through the ideological force of the colonizer.
- As people who have been forcibly displaced in recent or prior generations, due to global economic forces and labor demands, and have lost touch with their cultural roots.
- As people who were forcibly detained and displaced as a source of enslaved labor, with no economic benefits of their own, or for their progeny.
- As people whose national autonomies and political movements have been abused and manipulated due to global, imperial forces, and who have become migrants as a consequence.
- As people whose earlier ancestors were colonized (or were of an oppressed class), but whose more recent ancestors became the colonizer, or took on the role of the oppressor.
- As people whose loss of land-based folk culture occurred so distantly in the past that they have forgotten such a culture existed, and subsequently, unknowingly attempt to obtain the cultural knowledge of others.
- As people who have adopted many overlapping identities, or other identities which we haven’t covered here.
Themes we invite you to explore
Experiences of sacred rage, brokenheartedness, mourning, grief, denial and/or the shattering of denial in regards to your culture and sense of cultural identity
Experiences of acknowledgement, acceptance, rectification, healing, reconnecting to ancestral practices, lands, foods, plant medicine, crafts, music, people, stories. What, if anything, has helped heal your heart, and the hearts of your community?
Reflections on personal and communal hi/stories, and research into unknown unknowns
- Personal essays or narratives up to 1000 words in length (doc or pdf files)
- Poetry (doc or pdf files)
- Drawings or Paintings that are black/grayscale and that will print well (jpg files)
Please submit all entries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
By March 1, 2018
Please include your name, title of the work, and the best email address for us to reach you. If your submission is chosen, we will notify you via email.
We are accepting new works that were not previously published as well as works that have been published elsewhere, provided you (and not a third party publisher) own the rights to it.
We will not make any substantial edits to any works, but we reserve the right to make small changes for clarity or to correct spelling or punctuation errors.
We believe in people getting paid for their work! As such, we plan to hold a crowdfunding campaign in the spring to fund our initial costs (of printing, etc.) and pay all contributors whose work is chosen, and ourselves, a minimum of $50 a piece. Payments will be made over Paypal or Venmo, or if you don’t do electronic payments, we can send you a paper check in the mail.
MOLLIE MOORHEAD is learning to be a bioregional herbalist, and is also a DIY-er and multi-passionate creative based in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is also a former Ayurvedic practitioner and Californian in the middle of an identity crisis. Mollie is a descendent of settlers primarily from Scotland, England, Denmark, and Germans from Russia.
RAHA BEHNAM is an artist, performer and writer currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She was born in Iran, and became an immigrant twice, once to the west coast of Canada and a second time to the eastern part of the US. Her people are largely of Persian and Turkic ethnic ancestry. She holds a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning, and is continually pondering a futurist folk city.